Knife Sharpening

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Death Dealer, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Death Dealer

    Death Dealer Been here awhile

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    School me on knife sharpening. What is the best, easiest to use sharpener? Wickededge, Edgepro, Lansky, Sharpmaker, or just a good old set of paper, stones and leather?
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  2. jonpcovington

    jonpcovington Long timer

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    Lansky- reasonably easy and almost foolproof.
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  3. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    What's your level of sharpening experience, and how many/often?

    When I only had 2-3 knives around, I used a set of DMT stones (continuous surface diamond plate). For sharpening smaller items, I used a lansky. For larger items (hunting knives, etc.) I often use a 1x30" belt grinder and a progression of belts for a convex edge. When I do more kitchen oriented knives, etc. I moved to paper wheels, because I can process knives MUCH faster and more consistently... though I still finish on leather/diamond, then leather/crOx, then leather only. A buffer from harbor freight is about 30 bucks, and a set of paper wheels from woodcraft runs about the same. Again, it really depends on how many knives/how often you want to sharpen. And don't use paper wheels without a firm understanding of how to sharpen a knife, as you can eff up a knife just as quickly as you can sharpen it. For the absolute keenest edges I use DMT coarse, fine, xtrafine, xtraxtrafine, then a 12k grit chinese water stone, then felt +5 micron diamond, then leather 3 micron diamond, 1 micron diamond on leather, then leather .5 micron chromium oxide, then just leather leather - that's how I do my straight razors (if I could do those on the paper wheels I could, but the edges are too thin and burn). I sharpen thousands of knives a year (side job, you could say. More like a hobby that I'm able to keep expense neutral!)
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  4. AMCJEEP

    AMCJEEP Been here awhile

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    This
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  5. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    can't really recommend a lansky until I know how many knives we're talking about :p if he's got a pile of 100 knives around the house, the lansky's going to have your fingers soooooooore
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  6. VTvfr

    VTvfr Been here awhile

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    What about the WorkSharp unit?

    [​IMG]
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  7. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    at that point you're better off just buying a 1x30" belt grinder (like 40 bucks at harbor freight) since 1x30" is a standard belt size.. you can get anything in that size, including plain leather.
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  8. Death Dealer

    Death Dealer Been here awhile

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    I don't have any experience, but I have many knives. This is why I am looking at the Wickededge system. Seems completely repeatable but much quicker than a Lansky...
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  9. Smithy

    Smithy Avoiding the Skid-Demon

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    In my shop, it's a Craftsman 2x42" grinder up to 1000 grit, then buffed with green chrome oxide on a sewn cotton wheel.

    By hand, it's synthetic EDM stones, maybe 1000 grit paper on a soft backing, and a strop. Diamond hones are also used, depends on how much needs taking off to true up a blade.


    Whatever you do, learn the difference between removing metal, honing metal, and polishing metal.

    Good luck!
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  10. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    here's a quick video of sharpening with the paper wheels
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKIC2Q9_g5o
    I took that the day that I got the paper wheels - I'm much faster now, about 90 seconds per knife. The knife I was sharpening was garbage steel (like chinese 420a or something soft like that) but at the end I was whittling a hair. I sharpened a gerber hatchet and then shaved with it, start to finish, to settle a dare with a friend. Just a thought - you want to make sure you understand edge geometry *very* well first.

    Here's me sharpening a cold steel kukri machete (piece of junk as a knife, but invaluable as a yard/camping tool!) with a 1x30" grinder.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMIkUW_kjOA

    Both setups are 50-70 bucks. Maintenance is almost nil for the wheels, add rouge when its out and regrit the wheel occasionally (after a few hundred sharpenings) vs. buying belts for the 1x30. I still use both; the belt grinder for convex edges, the paper wheels for otherwise. Still use stones too, for kitchen knives (like a slightly toothier edge, the DMT stones don't disappoint on that front).

    You should probably check out bladeforums.com for a bit more info, there's a whole section there for maintenance tinkering and embellishment (Thats where the sharpning how-to's are).

    As for the levels of sharpness attainable, all three of the above methods yield a hair whittling edge (can slice off pieces of a hair) but only the stones get to pass the hanging hair test (or either of the others, then finish by hand on leather with crox).
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  11. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    I love love love using sandpaper on a mousepad (like your second option) because its just SO danged fast! As for your cotton wheel.. have you tried a leather belt for your 2x42? *personally* i get sharper finishes that way, I felt that the cotton wheel was undoing some of my other work...

    seriously though, check out a leather belt, I'd never go back! You gotta remember to take the belt off and not leave it under tension, as it will stretch.
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  12. Range Motorsport

    Range Motorsport Junk collector

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    I use a whetstone and honing oil. Tired several sharpening tools but they don't hold an edge like a good hand sharpened knife will.

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NboSIlg5w6w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  13. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

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    If I was sharpening lots of knives, I'd get a Tormec & a nice big Forschner or F. Dick steel.

    You want to do the initial grinding without overheating the blade, and NOTHING finishes an edge like a steel.
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  14. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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  15. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    I worked at a knife shop for years for extra money, and learned a lot about sharpening. We sold the Lansky's and they sold well, but its a pretty slow system.

    Belt sander, followed by ceramic sticks was the best sharpening system we found. Works great and leaves the working edge at a good angle for durability. '

    Don't take the edge too thin or you'll seriously affect how long it will stay sharp.
    #15
  16. Flood

    Flood F5lood.

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    I have a japanese water stone, but I never got the hang of it. In the end I always go back to my Lansky set, which is practically foolproof.
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  17. mfd1719

    mfd1719 Adventurer

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    I have used a Spyderco Sharpmaker for well over 10 years now. It works very well at making a sharp edge sharper. The ceramics are too fine for neglected edges. For those I use a DMT stone then switch over to the sharpmaker.
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  18. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    the dmt stones are great for lapping water stones.
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  19. tslewisz

    tslewisz Long timer

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    I use a WorkSharp (it stores easier than a 1x30 belt grinder) and leather hones with polishing compounds.
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  20. fierostetz

    fierostetz Been here awhile

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    what's the belt length on the worksharp? I'd like it more if I could use more standard belts... maybe an additional idler pulley to take up the 30" slack :p

    love love LOVE trizact belts, but they're not available in a whole lot of sizes.
    #20